29th July 2016

The power of accomplishment statements

by Shannon Houde

Today I’m drilling down on a specific part of the CV puzzle: accomplishment statements. What they are, why they work, and how to write them to help land your dream sustainability job.

In my various professional incarnations — hiring manager, entrepreneur, corporate social responsibility (CSR) corporate consultant, impact career coach, to name but a few — I’ve seen more CVs than you’ve seen job adverts. The candidates that stand out are the ones that use the ‘career history’ section to highlight key achievements that demonstrate tangible things they’ve actually done. The ones that really shine select statements that match up to the essential and desirable criteria in the job description.

Wondering how to get started? Look over your current CV or resume, and try summarizing it into 12 accomplishment statements using the language framework below. These statements should be framed around the impact/result of your action, indicate how you took that action – i.e. what skills you used, include context and numbers to make it come to life — and relate back to the key criteria in the job description. A good accomplishment statement has four parts:

1. The Wow: Start with a verb that shows purpose/results and that impresses (example: increased, propelled, enabled, raised, grew, won, solved).

2. The So What: Front-load the statement with the larger purpose (or result/impact) of why the company or client wanted you to achieve this for them.

3. The Where, When, How Many: Include the scope where possible (number of clients, timespan, amount of money, company names, awards, etc.).

4. The How: End with a drill-down description of three tasks you actually did, specifically what skills you used.

Here are some examples:

Supported new business development activities including writing proposals and presentations to prospective clients.

Won £50K of new sustainability consulting contracts over six months from retail and FMCG clients through identifying Walmart and P&G’s needs, writing proposals, and delivering pitch presentations to four directors.

Influenced and inspired businesses at C-suite and board levels to understand and act upon the connection between sustainability and commercial growth.

Led groundbreaking aviation working group for United, Delta and American to achieve joint commercial-scale uptake of low carbon renewable jet fuel through organizing inaugural meeting in San Francisco and collaborating across 10 global stakeholders for funding.

See the difference? It’s a no-brainer! By highlighting your accomplishments in specific terms rather than your generic responsibilities, you’re maximizing your experience and showing the hiring manager just what they’ll be getting on day one if they take you on.

For more advice on creating a killer CV, sign up for a 1-hour critique. Also check out Part 1Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.

This post originally appeared on TriplePundit

Photo credit: Unsplash via Pixabay


29th July 2016

Take your career to the next level


You may also like...

8th March 2018 How to network better than you flirt

Walking up to a potential new contact at a conference, or cold calling someone on the phone, is often the most intimidating part of networking for jobseekers. It’s hard to make the first move and much easier to keep yourself out of a vulnerable situation. However, if you’re looking to make a career move into sustainability, corporate responsibility or the green economy, in-person networking remains the best way to convert potential opportunities into real jobs. So, if you tend to

By Shannon Houde
6th February 2018 Three tips for your leap into sustainability

Corporate responsibility and sustainability are invigorating spaces to work in. New, constantly evolving, varied, dynamic, game-changing, planet-saving and respectably remunerated. It’s the place to be for people who want to live their values without swapping their Birkin for Birkenstocks (OK, well, maybe not an actual Birkin, but you know what I mean). A big part of my day is spent advising people with established skill sets and extensive experience on how to transition out of their safe, stable roles and

By Shannon Houde
27th January 2018 6 Tips to Make Salary Negotiations Go Your Way

Talking numbers can be an awkward and nerve-wracking experience. But you need to roll those shoulders back and put on your brave face because — as you well know — once you are in an organization it is difficult to make a big jump in salary. That is why you need to negotiate your worth at the very start. Knock-out your next stint in the hot seat with these 6 tips: 1.Don’t rush Don’t talk numbers until after the hiring

By Shannon Houde
18th January 2018 Dominate your job search with this LinkedIn guide

Did you know that 97% of human resources and staffing professionals use LinkedIn to search for candidates and that 77% of all job openings are posted there? Making the most of your profile with this Linkedin guide will be one of the best investments you’ll make in your job search and ongoing career and network development. But first… Before you put fingertip to keyboard, take a few minutes to read and digest the following five tips. You’ve got one chance to

By Shannon Houde


Have one of our coaches critique your CV in our 30 minute starter session.

Learn more